Conceptual, geometric, and lyrical, the draped and suspended works of Sam Gilliam (American, b. 1933) defy conventional definitions of sculpture and painting. Gilliam’s pioneering use of pigment on un-stretched material dismantles the prevalent narrative that black artists excel solely in figural representation.
Sam Gilliam In Dialogue marks the debut of WCMA’s recent acquisition of Situation VI-Pisces 4 (1972), a signature drape work of gigantic scale.
With no specific instructions for installation, the work can be suspended in multiple ways, generating innovative, site-specific dialogues with the people and works of art surrounding it. In the spirit of Gilliam’s experimental practice, this exhibition will completely re-install the gallery space three times to reflect different interpretations.